April 3, 1995 in Nation/World

Post Falls To Celebrate Namesake With Pageant ‘Stories Of Q’Emiln’ Will Offer History And The Falls Itself

By The Spokesman-Review
 

To do something new, Post Falls is relying on the old. The River City will see the history of its falls in a pageant debuting this summer.

“We wanted Post Falls to have something unique,” said organizer Nancy DiGiammarco. “And we got everything I dreamed of having.”

This August, Post Falls will offer tourists and residents the “Stories of Q’Emiln,” an original play.

Q’Emiln means throat of the river.

DiGiammarco plans to build a stage near the top of the falls. Bleachers will surround the stage for a theater-in-theround effect. Donations from local businesses will pay for the stage.

Coeur d’Alene playwright Tim Rarick and composer Tom Cooper collaborated on the play. Their project draws on Indian legend as well as history.

“Stories of Q’Emiln” will anchor the Festival of the Falls, a brainstorm of DiGiammarco, director of Post Falls’ Tourism, Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Betsy Bullard of the Post Falls Arts Commission. The festival will take place Aug. 18 and 19 in Falls Park.

“It’s not just something for tourists,” DiGiammarco said. “It’s something for our community.”

With that in mind, DiGiammarco asked Rarick to write a short play on Frederick Post, the town’s founder. But other names, such as Coeur d’Alene Chief Andrew Seltice, surfaced in Rarick’s research.

“Tom and I finally decided the story of Post Falls is really about the falls itself,” the playwright said. “So it was logical to begin with Indian myth and legend about the creation of the Earth.”

Rarick broke the falls’ history into 12 stories. He begins with the tale of Coyote falling in love with a Coeur d’Alene Indian princess and creating the falls in vengeance when her father rejects him as a suitor.

Another early story features a 16-foot puppet as a giant who invaded the area. According to Indian legend, children captured the giant and he carved the channel that became the Spokane River as he escaped.

The stories progress from the development of the land to the arrival of the Black Robes, or Jesuits, and the Army to John Mullan’s famous road and the town’s birth. It ends with Chief Seltice’s death at the turn of the century.

“In most places, we wanted to be historically reliable,” Rarick said. “But in some places, we took a flight of fancy.”

For example, a story about the first white woman and her marriage to Post’s foster son, John, positions the woman, Flora, at the top of the falls ready to jump.

“She was told there was a town and there wasn’t yet,” he said. “She realizes it’s only in their minds.”

The authors will be paid $4,000 from the Idaho Commission on the Arts.

“I’m so blown away by all this,” she said. “This play is far beyond anything I’d ever imagined.”

xxxx Auditions Auditions for the play’s 10 teen and adult roles will be held 7-9 p.m., Wednesday, at Rossi Productions, 501 Lakeside Ave., in Coeur d’Alene. The cast will be paid.


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